Employee Stress Management Programs for Healthcare Workers

Need to improve employee communication and engagement during COVID-19? Bonfyre can help! Get started here

Employee Stress Management Programs for Healthcare Workers: A Necessity in Today’s World

6 min

In 2022, the quit rate in the healthcare industry surged by a staggering 25% compared to the average from 2018 to 2021. The reasons? Gruelingly long shifts, constant exposure to trauma, and the emotional toll of dealing with sick or dying patients just scratch the surface of healthcare employee burnout. In such high-pressure environments, healthcare can sometimes feel like a thankless job, causing morale to plummet. HR and management play a crucial role in reversing this trend. Here are some ways to implement employee stress management programs for healthcare workers in your practice.

Reasons for High Turnover Rate in Healthcare

By its very nature, healthcare has always been a demanding profession. However, since the onset of the pandemic, the challenges healthcare workers face have amplified. Working in a high-intensity environment can make it increasingly difficult to retain talent. 

Here are some reasons why healthcare workers are quitting their jobs:

  • Excessive Workload: Healthcare workers often face long, irregular hours and a heavy workload.
  • Emotional Exhaustion: Dealing with illness and death on a regular basis can take an emotional toll, leading to stress and eventual burnout.
  • Low Compensation: Despite the demanding nature of the job, healthcare workers are often underpaid. 
  • Lack of Support: A lack of adequate support and resources can leave healthcare workers feeling overwhelmed and unsupported, prompting them to look for better opportunities elsewhere.
  • Poor Work-Life Balance: The demanding schedules often leave little time for personal life and self-care, causing many healthcare workers to seek more balanced opportunities.
  • Unsafe Working Conditions: The pandemic has highlighted the risks healthcare workers face. Inadequate safety measures contribute to job dissatisfaction and high turnover rates.
  • Lack of Perceived Career Growth Opportunities: Limited opportunities for advancement can lead to frustration and stagnation, causing healthcare workers to seek roles elsewhere that offer better prospects.

Addressing these issues is critical for reducing high turnover rates in the healthcare industry. By acknowledging and actively working to mitigate these challenges, healthcare organizations can create a more supportive and sustainable working environment for their valued staff.

Best Employee Stress Management Programs for Healthcare Workers

Implementing new stress management programs in a healthcare workplace can be challenging. It requires careful planning, commitment, and resources to ensure their success. However, with the right approach for your particular company, it’s possible to create an environment that supports the well-being of your workforce. Here are some top tips for employee stress management programs for healthcare workers.

Promote Work-Life Balance

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), up to 93% of healthcare workers feel stressed out and stretched too thin. In the healthcare industry, maintaining a work-life balance can be a significant challenge given the high-stress environment, long hours, and the critical nature of the work. 

While it may seem counterintuitive in a busy healthcare setting, taking short, frequent breaks can significantly reduce stress and prevent burnout. Tools like Bonfyre can be utilized to send friendly nudges or reminders to staff to step away from their workstations, even if just for a few minutes, to recharge.

Also, consider implementing policies that allow employees to leave early on slower days or after having worked a long shift. This flexibility shows employees that their well-being is valued and appreciated.

In the healthcare industry, getting shifts covered can be challenging due to the specific skills and knowledge required. Sometimes, patients’ lives depend on their presence. 

Understanding this, HR and management need to work closely with staff to find suitable coverage without placing undue stress on other team members. Be proactive by cross-training employees in competencies. Also, consider hiring per diem staff or using locum tenens providers.

Offer Counseling Services

The demanding and emotionally taxing nature of healthcare work often exposes professionals to high levels of stress and trauma. Counseling plays a crucial role in helping healthcare workers manage their emotions, learn lifelong coping skills, and move forward from traumatic experiences. 

Consider offering on-site or virtual counseling opportunities. The availability of counselors in healthcare settings can help address fears and problems in a positive way, enabling workers to maintain their mental wellness amidst the demands of their profession.

Reducing stigma around seeking help and improving access to these services can significantly improve the mental health of the healthcare workforce. 

Use Bonfyre to post links about mental health resources that the entire workforce can see. That way, they can access these resources anonymously and on their own time. 

Provide Resilience Training

Resilience training in healthcare is a structured program that provides healthcare professionals with the tools they need to cope with work-related challenges. These programs are designed to promote mental well-being, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, better patient care. 

Resilience training focuses on four main areas – emotional, cognitive/mental, physical, and spiritual resilience. Training sessions often include strategies for stress management, fostering positive relationships, maintaining physical health and well-being, and finding purpose in work.

Given the ever-changing and often unpredictable nature of healthcare, resilience training should be ongoing for healthcare workers. Regular training allows employees to continually develop and reinforce their coping skills. It also ensures that they are prepared to handle new challenges as they arise.

Fitness and Yoga Classes

Exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining mental health. Research has consistently shown that it helps to reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood while improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Regular physical activity can also increase endorphin levels, the body’s natural mood boosters, and help improve sleep quality.

Despite their knowledge of these benefits, healthcare workers can often neglect their own physical well-being. This lack of self-care is typically due to the demands of their profession. 

Healthcare workers rely heavily on their bodies to perform their duties. After long, strenuous shifts, it can be challenging to find the energy or motivation to exercise. However, given the strong connection between physical activity and mental health, it is vital for healthcare workers to incorporate exercise into their routines.

Consider implementing exercise or yoga programs within the workplace. This could involve offering on-site fitness classes or designating a space for staff to practice yoga during breaks.

In addition to on-site programs, healthcare employers can also partner with local gyms or yoga studios to provide discounted memberships for their staff. 

Mindfulness Meditation Programs

Incorporating mindfulness meditation into the healthcare workplace can have significant benefits, including reduced stress levels, improved focus, and better interpersonal relations. 

Encourage employees to take short mindfulness breaks throughout the day. This could be as simple as spending a few minutes focusing on their breath or doing a quick body scan meditation.

Bonfyre could be an excellent tool for implementing some of these ideas. HR and management can upload content to a public wall that all employees can see. They can post daily guided meditations, mindfulness tips, and reminders to take breaks. 

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has been recognized for its ability to alleviate stress and tension. It works by reducing the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. Simultaneously, massages also increase endorphins, which are known as the “feel good” hormones.

A lot of healthcare workers also hold tension in parts of their bodies, whether it be stress-related or due to their posturing while performing their daily duties. Massages can help to release muscle tension, improve circulation, and promote overall relaxation throughout the mind and body.

One effective way of integrating the benefits of massage into the workplace is by bringing in local masseuses to provide 15-30-minute massages for employees. This could be done on a scheduled basis, such as once a week or month, during work hours.

Another strategy could be to offer gift cards for massages as a reward for reaching certain milestones. This not only acknowledges employees’ hard work and achievements but also encourages them to take time for self-care.

To ensure these milestones are not overlooked, Bonfyre can be used to set up automated notifications. This feature allows HR and management to receive reminders about upcoming milestones, ensuring that employees’ efforts are recognized and rewarded in a timely manner..

Pet Therapy

Animal-Assisted therapy (AAT)  has been increasingly recognized in the healthcare field for its numerous benefits to both patients and healthcare workers. AAT involves guided interactions between a person and a trained animal, often with the animal’s handler present. These interactions have been shown to enhance the positive effects of therapy, offering emotional support at vulnerable times.

For healthcare workers, pet therapy can provide valuable emotional relief. However, while the benefits of pet therapy are substantial, it’s crucial to consider potential risks, especially in a healthcare setting. 

The presence of therapy animals could pose a risk in the form of potential zoonotic pathogen transmission or cross-transmission of human pathogens. Therefore, it’s essential to adhere to strict hygiene protocols and ensure animals are well-trained and regularly vetted for health concerns.

Beyond the healthcare setting, team-building activities involving animals can also be beneficial. A day trip to a local animal shelter to walk dogs or a visit to a cat cafe can provide an opportunity for healthcare teams to bond while also enjoying the therapeutic benefits of interacting with animals. These experiences can help to strengthen team relationships and boost morale, contributing to improved employee well-being.

Provide Leadership Opportunities 

Many healthcare professionals report feeling stagnated or trapped in their jobs. Excessive workloads, administrative burdens, and limited say in scheduling all contribute to a sense of being overlooked and overworked.

When employees feel like they are unable to progress in their careers, it can create a sense of being trapped in their current job. This lack of growth potential can further exacerbate feelings of burnout and dissatisfaction.

To combat complacency, it’s essential for HR and management to provide leadership development opportunities. These could take the form of training programs, mentorship initiatives, or opportunities for job rotation. 

Such initiatives can help employees develop new skills, broaden their perspectives, and foster a greater sense of purpose and motivation.

An effective way to encourage participation in these opportunities is through the use of Celebration Walls on Bonfyre. This allows for public recognition of employees’ achievements, such as completing a leadership development module. Using a public forum to acknowledge the good work of an employee can also serve as a motivator for others to follow suit.

Promote Employee Stress Management Programs for Healthcare Workers

Promoting employee stress management programs for healthcare workers is crucial as it helps maintain the mental well-being of this coveted talent. Healthcare employees often face high levels of stress in their jobs. These programs can reduce burnout, improve productivity, and enhance patient care quality. Automated tools like Bonfyre can be instrumental in this process. They can streamline the implementation of these programs, track progress, and provide real-time data to HR and management. Using Bonfyre can assist in making informed decisions, adjusting strategies as needed, and ensuring that the programs are effectively benefiting the intended employees.

Go back to the top

Recent Posts:

Keep reading!

See more from this author

Want to stay updated?

Subscribe to our newsletters

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Bonfyre is committed to your privacy. We use the information you provide as described in our Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time.